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The Ten Commandments, are they moral?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 6/7/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,084 times Debate No: 56201
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




One can obviously say killing and stealing and lying are wrong but what about the others? This debate is to discuss whether the commandments as in the Bible are really all they are cracked up to be.


the commandments are at the very least moral, as in they are not immoral or amoral. a person can follow them and be considered moral.

but aside from semantics, they are the morally right position.

1 "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.

if God is truly who he says as he says he, then it's moral to not make gods out of others etc.

2 "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My Commandments.

if God is who he says, you shouldn't worship images of others.

3 "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

if God is who he says, you should respect him.

4 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

if God blessed the seventh day, we should respect it.

5 "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

they brought us into existence and raised us, usually. that means we should respect them.

6 "You shall not murder.

you acknowledge this point.

7 "You shall not commit adultery.

if yo make a promise to be faithful, you should keep it.

8 "You shall not steal.

you concede this point.

9 "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

you concede this point.

10 "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's."

covet merely means inordinate desire. mere desire or wanting or basic jeolousy isn't enough. it has to be inordniate.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting this debate :)

Ok well to start as I mentioned in the description and you acknowledged in your introduction (which I will not rebuttal for this is my intro) I obviously find the commandments regarding killing or murder etc... agreeable it is the others I am concerned with for this debate.
The first Commandment (funny this is before killing but hey what ever) says you have to worship me and no others. Now keep in mind these writings came out of a time when what are now called Jews were more or less Henotheistic, that is there may be or certainly are other gods but ours is the most powerful and is superior in every way to the others. However I digressed just to give some context now moving forward. This is a pure dictator complex coming from the writers of this text. Freedom of religion is not and can not be tolerated. Again the god says that "you have to worship me and only me". Where is the morality in this? How is saying freedom of religion is an evil thing a moral statement? I would say our first amendment takes a better stance on the issue than god has so far.

This is also clearly contradictory to the idea of free will. What is the point of saying I have a choice to follow you if you say I must. It is a horrible thing to demand worship of yourself under penalty of death (Yes death you are to be killed for not obeying these).

The second commandment continues the dictator mentality. You may not ever make images I do not approve of, ever. Not only are you told you must worship this being but you are censored in creating what would have been the bronze age equivalent of media. This god wants all your attention and wants to control your freedom of imagery thus speech which I will get to later. Now moving on this commandment demands that you must love this deity. He is jealous and giving your attention and love to something other than him is against his law. Why is this a good thing? How is this moral? This is what a dictatorship looks like only the god goes far enough to demand love from you, you have to love or yes death....

Moving onto the third well this is pretty straight forward. You may not ever say something about me I would not approve of. How is that moral? Is it not wrong to create a society where its god is untouchable, where speaking against him is against the law? Why no free speech? There is no one on earth in a free society I think is twisted enough to say that kind of society is a good one to live in.

The fourth deals with the Sabbath day. Now the problem with this one is that this is a mandatory day you must set aside for the god. You cannot work or really be occupied at all. It is a day the god demands you spend worshiping him. How is that a good way to live? "ok everyone its Saturday better stop what you are doing and give some attention to the lord or yes death..."

The fifth doesn't have much of a problem with it we would like to live in a society where children honor or obey their parents and of course this was not something invented by those who wrote this text. The only thing I see a problem with is that it really has no care for earning respect from your parents. Yes obey them but is every parent like that? No of course not but seeing as how the Bible is full of horrible parents that has little to do with anything. Otherwise its a fairly obvious thumbs up.

Number six is another straight forward one. Don't murder. Ok well that works lol. There is however a dark side of irony to this commandment. Right after Moses receives these 10 he is then instructed to go kill all the members of a neighboring tribe with the exception of the virgin women. Clearly murder in this society only applies to those within, genocide is perfectly acceptable. So yes, don't murder is good but it is crucial to remember the context this is set in. It isn't murder how we have it today.

Seven is again pretty plain, no adultery. Now as a moral idea this is one we humans have had long before these texts arose and is universally accepted, we don't like cheaters. However keep in mind these 10 are designed to be actual laws. Should cheaters go to prison? Or worse as the Bible says to death? No of course not. You cannot just make cheating against the law and give it some kind of punishment? (not that cheating doesn't come back to bite you in the butt anyway). So yes cheating is bad but in the context the Bible puts it in as an actual law, NO THANK YOU!

Eight is obviously nothing original it is don't steal soooooo yah that works lol

Nine is do not bear false witness, we have a similar idea set up in our courts so this one again no real complaints so far.

Ten however is where it get really twisted again. You cannot covet anything your neighbor owns (back in these days wives went along with the goats). This one is horrible and here is why. Thought Crime, this is what you are in trouble for, for thinking thoughts god wouldn't like. What if I see a married person and think "yes she is attractive I would like to be with her" why can I not think that without being punished, lude thoughts banned? Why? Also what if I do like my friends care and was green for it? God is this way over the love he makes me give him why can't I be just that green over a car? It is certainly a far less disgusting request is it not?

To some it up here is how it goes; you have to worship me. You cannot make images I do not approve of. You cannot say anything I do not like. You cannot think freely. You have to love me and by the way don't kill each other or lie about each other or take each other's stuff without asking because you need me to tell you that.

Any society run on these rules would look like well North Korea. In this state the old leader (now dead) is god and he asks all this of his "children". Why would I want a society like that? Where is the morality? And remember this, disobeying these laws all equal death and hell forever. What could possibly be good about that?

This is my statement to start so now we will go to rebuttals.


con says it is not freedom of religion to have God say worship me and only me. God doesn't stop you from worshiping how you want. he tells you if you want to do the right thing, then you will listen to him. the freedom is there all along though.

con often argues about death being the result of the sins. first, that death results doesn't really say whether the laws themselves are moral or not moral. we can say the results are not moral, but the laws are. it's somewhat beside the point. but, to that point, if all that results is natural death, we can't complain. we are mere creatures and should be happy we have a life to live. we shouldn't and aren't be guaranteed everlasting life. if we follow a moral life, though, we can have the undeserved extra of ever lasting life.

sabbath. it's about respect. most people don't think it's expected to be followed to a tee, if you absolutely need to work. just like not killing doesn't mean you can't kill in self defense or the myriad other ways we generally see it as okay to kill. how is it not a good thing to have respect, while to relaxing and smell the roses?

con quibbles that not all parents deserve respect etc. it's like not killing, and such as just mentioned, not one would expect it all to be taken to the extreme.

con doesn't like cheating and thinks it's bad but doesn't think there should be a law about it? these 'laws' are basically moral propositions. that you say you think it's bad means you should accept it as a moral proposition. you may not agree about the conseqauences, as touched on earlier how to deal with that, but the rules themselves are just statements of morality.

coveting. again, it's about inordinate desire. mere desire isn't banned. con hasn't responded to this notion. also, there's nothing says why thinking should be okay if the act can't be. as long as you are trying to control your rhoguhts, a few slips here and there aren't bad. like, if you think to yourself 'dont think about an elepant' you are going to think about an elep[ahnt. but that you are n't dwelling and getting yoruslef preoccupied on something else is what mainly matters. think anbotu it this way, is it okay to dwell on killing someone if actually doing it is wrong? no, both are wrong. you have to accept that doing something about a woman or object is wrong, or you won't see dwelling on a woman or object inordinately as wrong. you probably have an issue with the underlying issues. it's about the heart, intention. that's all that matters. just like, if you would kill someone but don't, hyou are still pretty much as guilty.
Debate Round No. 2


Thank you for responding!

Ok well to begin pro seems to be making his own ideas about what these commandments mean. The Bible is pretty explicit that these are to be laws for a society to follow as a whole this is a moral code, though I am arguing it is not very moral, but these are also specified laws that you may be punished on earth for and will certainly be punished in the afterlife for.

Next let me address the desires issue. I thought I was clear but just as Sun Tzu did to his troops who misunderstood I will give you a second chance. Lets say these are the strong desires you mention (that the Bible seems to omit) why does this thinking still merit punishment? What if I do have really strong desires for a married person or someone else's car? Can I not be free to have these desires and not be reprimanded for them? Again the deity makes it clear (in other parts of the Bible as well as here) that thought crime is a real thing.

Next I am not sure where you are getting this freedom of religion thing from? The god is clearly not open to you worshiping anything else but him. Again this is the demand of an eternal dictator, a concept you have yet to address.

To continue you ignore and fail to address the fact adultery is supposed to be punished as an actual crime? Is even going around shaming these people moral? No of course not so why would punishment in this life as well as in an afterlife for this bad behavior be moral?

Lastly I will address the opening remark which would be how poor your opinion of humanity must be that we are "undeserving". This is insulting and anyone reading that comment should find it insulting too. What is so wrong about humans that we do not deserve humane treatment but instead deserve eternal punishment?

Again I ask why would this be a moral code of law for a society to follow. And no this was not just something for an individual to do (not that it makes this text any better I mean really?) this is a law for everyone to follow under pain of death and eternal damnation. The guy god gives these to goes and slaughters a whole race and gives there women to his warriors partly because they did not observe these rules. Either way you enact this it is still; Worship me because I said so, don't dare make images I do not like, don't ever say anything bad about me no matter what, love me or else, do not have lude or wishful thoughts about other people's stuff (like their cattle and wives, wives are still just property at this stage in this culture) and again just don't kill each other and steal things or lie because you cannot possibly figure that out on your own. How is that moral?

Also take all the time you need this is a 3 day time limit


if you dwell on wrongful desires, or have inordinate desires how is that not wrong? as i said, it's not really expected that it'd mean you can't have passing thought that you try to do away with, as we're only human. how is it not wrong to dwell on killing someone? if you dont view adultery or taking someone's car as wrong, then you wont view dwelling on em as wrong. i know you just said 'wanting' someone's car, but just wanting someone's car is not inordinate, but you can get to that point if you dwell or develop unhealthy attachments.

God isnt open to you worshipping false Gods, but he made you such that you are free to do as you will. he didn't make you a robot. just because a religion says 'you should follow this religion' doesn't mean they are not open to freedom of religion in terms of what you are capable of. they are saying if you want to do right, you will follow that religion. there's no way around making requirements if it's just to say what is to be done if yo uwant to do what is right. there's only one way to do what is right.

adultery. it goes to what i said about the punishemtns. the rule itself is moral, and we can quibble about the punishments, but it doesn't deflect that the rule is moral or not. that there's punshments could go for all the rules here, but it's beside the point of whether the rules themslves are moral or not.

the underserving point. i didn't say we deserve eternal punishment as you said. i just said we dont deserve eternal life. we should be glad we got the life we did. grateful. if we get more, it's a perk.

pro seems way hung on up the punishemnts of the rules and not so much the morality or lack there of of hte rules themselves. it's beside the point.
Debate Round No. 3


Well I will start in the reverse. First you say I am dwelling too much on the punishment (which there is and not removable from this at all less you care nothing for them) but I feel you are exaggerating this because obviously if these are rules there are consequences to breaking them imposed by the law giver soooo idk what to water down your delusion with sorry. These are the writers words not mine.

Now again we get to the point of adultery or cheating. Well would it be moral to say that this is against the rules? I think not.

Now on to the point of freedom of religion. You could not possibly disagree that freedom of religion is moral and I highly doubt that you would find a rule that demands a society prohibits this to be moral. Now if you take from the perspective this is just the writers (which is all really matters) then this is a model where freedom of religion is wrong. Moral? I think not.
Take this from the perspective of god ok fine but I have no choice but to be plane and logical about it and use his own words in a summary. "Look you have free will to do as you please but if you do things I do not like you will be burned in hell for eternity". This is not free this is imposed, to say otherwise is absurd.

Next lets get to the desires issue. Why would me dwelling on having sex with a person who was not single be something morally wrong to the point it should be against the rules. Also I do have to point out that NO it is not just the "inordinate" desires it (god) does not (as is made clear in the rest of the book) want you to have these thoughts at all and cares not for the severity but the presence of these thoughts. You have yet to explain why that is a moral idea and still continue to make more or less your own metaphoric interpretation. Which you are allowed to make again this is just the Bible but these are very specific rules here.

Next I suggest we focus on the point made by the writers not me that has not been addressed by you. Why is it that women are explicitly part of property in these rules. There is only one way they are portrayed in this text and that is as possessions only slightly of more value or of the same value as the "chattel". The rest of the old testament is fairly clear about the value of women and it is consistent in these laws. Why is this moral and don't event waste your time going "oh that is not what it says" because that actually is what it says so please spare the waste of time.

Now I am growing disturbed by this idea we do not deserve anymore life. Why? And also I only said that eternal punishment was deserved because that is what the book says it says we are sick, sinful, flawed and would without this god's rules end up in a hell of some sort forever so please this is again the writers words not mine.

Lastly I have made this point which has yet to be answered. The laws are; you have to worship this god, you may not make images he would not like (or "I" this can still be first person either way same problem), do not say anything he does not like, do not think anything he would not want you to think and do not take each others stuff, kill each other or lie because again you are too stupid to think this up for yourself. What does any of this have to do with being moral?


adultery. con says it woudln't be moral to say it's against the rules. he argued earlier that he agreed adultery is a bad thing. so why wouldn't it be moral to come out with a rule and say so?

freedom of religion. con again falls back on focusing on the punishment. humans are free to choose their own religion though. and, Not everyone agrees that hell is actual fire so con is exagerrating. i could see that to make religion 'free' but to make strict punishemnts isn't really free.

desires. most people dont think just 'wanting' or seeing something that would be nice to have is a violation of that commandment. it almost then has to be something indordinate to begin with. dwelling on sex. is it okay to dwell on killing someone? no. anything that is sinful shoudn't be dwelled upon. you might not view it as sinful, but that goes back to if you have issues with it to begin with. if you don't then of course it isnt wrong to dwell upon them.

con brings up the issue of women as property. i can't figure out why he mentions it thought cause this is a debate about the ten commandmetns.

i answered all those last points. the commandemtns about God are about respect. as with those, i already addressed the other ones. con seems to be almost getting into ranting at this point.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Charliecdubs 7 years ago
Sorry I meant her!!! I was not paying attention to the obvious name whoops my bad!!!
Posted by NNEye 7 years ago
Which standard of morality are you going off of?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Sagey 7 years ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Morality is subjective and in our culture to forbid people to worship whoever they wish to (Con's second statement and Freedom of Belief ) is immoral, so by today's standards, the Ten Commandments are Immoral. Well the first 4 commandments anyway the others are amoral as they set conflicting precedents with the actions of God in the Bible and are not well enough defined.

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